Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Pieter Elbers reappointed as president and CEO of KLM as the Air France - KLM group simplify governance.

Pieter Elbers                               Photo KLM
Despite recent press speculation that Pieter Elbers was about to be ousted from his position at the head of KLM by new arrival Ben Smith, the Air France - KLM board of directors has voted in favour of the reappointment of Pieter Elbers as President and CEO of KLM. 

Elbers reappointment will be proposed to the KLM Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of April this year while Ben Smith will be proposed for appointment to the KLM Supervisory Board at the same meeting.  

"The KLM Supervisory Board earlier already unanimously supported Pieter Elbers’ reappointment as did KLM’s Works Council. The Board is happy that the reappointment may now also count on the positive vote of our main shareholder, AIR FRANCE-KLM. Under Pieter’s leadership, KLM has made tremendous progress during the past 4 years. With Pieter Elbers at the helm of KLM for the next 4 years, KLM is ready for its future, and committed to contribute to the success of AIR FRANCE-KLM." Said, Hans Smits - Chairman of the KLM Supervisory Board.


Elbers said, "The journey we have made within KLM over the past 4 years, has been both exciting and rewarding. I am proud and deeply thankful to all my colleagues in the company for being so aligned and supportive in this wonderful journey. Today, in the year of our 100th anniversary, we are a fit, thriving and healthy company once again. Our 2018 results are a testimony to this! I sincerely thank the respective Boards of KLM and AIR FRANCE-KLM for placing their trust and confidence in me with my reappointment. I look forward to serving KLM for the next 4 years as CEO Group."

Improved and simplified AIR FRANCE-KLM governance

Today, the Board of Directors of Air France-KLM unanimously approved the presentation of Benjamin Smith, CEO Air France-KLM, outlining his ambitions for the Group, principles of managerial governance, strategic decisions and processes to be made at Group level with the goal of simplifying and improving the governance of the Group in order to reach European airline leadership.

Some key elements necessary to achieve the long-term goals of the Group:

Create a new Group CEO Committee to determine the strategic direction for all Group airlines and business units. This CEO committee will be chaired by Benjamin Smith. The other members of the committee include Pieter Elbers (CEO KLM), Anne Rigail (CEO Air France) and Frédéric Gagey (CFO Air France-KLM). The three of them will report directly to Benjamin Smith.
Increase collaboration across the Group to better capture synergies, efficiencies and economies of scale, with the aim of improving overall Group profitability
Celebrate the longstanding heritage, reputation and brand recognition of Air France, KLM and Transavia within their respective markets and reinforce the Group’s position at it two hubs, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Simplify key Group operational processes in the following areas: fleet and network strategy, commercial and alliances strategy, human resources, purchasing, digital and data management.
The Board of Air France-KLM concurs with the Supervisory Board of KLM and proposes the renewal of Pieter Elbers as CEO of KLM during the KLM Annual General Meeting in April.

Both Anne Rigail and Pieter Elbers are hereby also appointed Air France-KLM Deputy CEOs and have expressed their commitment to build the Group’s success alongside Benjamin Smith.

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors acknowledges the entry of Benjamin Smith to the Supervisory Board of KLM at their next AGM.

Cees't Hart will become a member of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors at the Group's next AGM, replacing Hans Smits.

“We are convinced that Benjamin Smith and his team, with the renewal of Pieter Elbers, will drive further growth at Air France-KLM, leveraging the combined strength and experience provided by the Group and its airlines.” said Anne-Marie Couderc, Chair of the Air France-KLM Board. “The Board of Directors welcomes this new management structure adopted today, that will help the Group, under the clear leadership of Benjamin, achieve industry leadership and success”